I have a stinking cold right now. All the holes of my face are secreting something - the things those holes might naturally secret, but in much greater quantities - and the pipes in my throat are wheezing and whistling like century-old bellows. Then there's the coughing; great efforts to dislodge and remove the gunk in my lungs and throat but mostly just making my eyes water, which in turn leads to cascading secretions mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.
Great circles underscore my eyes, while my over tissued-nose is super red, my mind has shut down all but the essential services and my capcity to think is almost nil. An example includes trying to leave the supermarket the other night only to end up in toilets for wheelchaired patrons instead of the car park. Pretty sure I couldn't even duplicate that episode if I tried - who knew they even *had* public toilets at the supermarket? These signs are back-up only in case you missed all the other cues that I am pretty sick at the moment.
While there is never a good time to catch a cold, right now is the worst time for me to not be well. In the final week of the project I'm working on, with so much to do and so many cats to herd, timing actually couldn't be much worse.
All hopped up on cold medicine and driving home from the train station yesterday (nothing like operating a small, cherry-coloured vehicle while under the influence of medication) after a pretty unsatisfactory Saturday at the office trying to get this project finished, my mind drifted away to all the things I like in this world. I'm conciously taking this tact because I don't have the energy to fall into the pit of despair and blackness that this cold would have me venture.
So these six simple things are mine to enjoy, and the thought of them (and the fact of them) transport me to a place of peace and happiness, even if it's only for a sliver of time, while my cold isn't looking.
Specifically: getting back into bed fully clothed. Yes, even with my shoes on. Best time of the day to experience this is early in the morning. I get up at 5am on my week days and I have never been a morning person. After I turn my alarm off, I can convince myself to actually leave the comfort and warmth of my bed by saying "all you need to do is get ready for work, then you can go back to bed!" I get up, shower, wash, dry, dress, brush and blush - finishing with socks and shoes. I check the time and gererally, I am too early to leave the house for the trainstation so I get to reward myself with crawling back under the covers, all clothes and Converse, close my eyes and just savour the few minutes of time.
They're a wonderful vegetable, and my go-to comfort food. I like to bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil before pouring in about a cup of frozen, green peas. As soon as that water comes back to the boil, the peas are drained and tipped into a bowl. A knob of butter, a teaspoon and some quiet time curled up on the couch while spooning the green globes of goodness into my mouth, feeling the flavour burst across my tastebuds as each of the precious packages is consumed is almost meditative!
Can't live without it - well Okay I could - but I wouldn't want to. Real butter, on scones, fresh bread, atop steaming piles of peas, melting into hot toast, the basis of a good white sauce, the sheen in the pan after meat is roasted. Never to be used lightly, and always to be savoured and tasted.
Coming home and being home are two things I love. I am lucky enough to have a number of homes. My present home is in country Victoria, Australia and it's the centre of my universe at the moment. In a few, short weeks I'll be back at home in New Zealand. Home there is usually felt as I turn the corner somewhere around Mokau to see the great Mt Taranaki in the distance - that is home to me too. The smell of sulpher is also home to me as I was born and grew up in the thermal region of Rotorua. Home is also whenever I'm wth my children. Most strongly felt when they're all with me in one place no matter where that place is on Earth. I'm pretty lucky to have a number of 'homes' and opportunities to have that feeling.
5. Mail (not bills)
Last night when I got home, Willo had collected the mail from the Post Office, and there was a package.
The other week I went to see Jamie Oliver talk to Matt Preston at a Wheeler Centre event in Melbourne. It was just so so good. Jamie was entertaining, passionate, articulate, funny. When I had received the email about the event, it had stated that the first 500 people who bought tickets would receive a copy of Jamie's Great Britain - his latest cook book.
You've never seen anyone move as fast as I moved to get my ticket. Even so, most of the seats in the Regent Theatre seating plan were sold. Being a single seat, I was able to weedle my way to midway-stalls, so was quite happy with getting as close to the stage as I could. I didn't, however, get any notification that I was one of the first 500 tickets, therefore qualifying for the book.
I grumbled, of course. Cursed all those early ticket buyers that get preference advance opportunities to buy tickets, and that I'd missed out on the book and really they should've amended the email if they'd already given away all the books and on and on as only I can do.
So ripping off the top of my parcel yesterday evening and realising that it held the very book I thought I'd been so cruelly jipped on weeks earlier, made me very happy indeed.
After looking at the book for a while, and showing Willo all the desserts I felt like eating .right.now. he took some time to glance through the pages. He turned the book towards me, open at a page of a pie whose mashed potato topping had been forked in a vaguely Union Jackish pattern.
It reminded him of a pie his mother would make for them. They called it Brett's Pie on account it was Willo's older brother's favourite. To the point that when they had it, their mum backed two pies, as Brett would eat half of one on his own.
Willo got his mother on the phone to find out how to make Brett's Pie. She was on speaker phone so he could type the recipe while she recited it. What was delightful was it seemed like this was the first time she had ever had to think about how she made the pie, how many ingredients and in what sort of quanitities. She's a gorgeous woman, and delightfully shared this family recipe.
After Willo made me stay on the couch, and forced a duvet and a dog on to me to help with my rotton cold situation, he too a trip into town for the ingredients. By the time he came back I was vertical, and staring at the television as it showed multiple episodes of M*A*S*H*. He chopped and cooked, and after a while produced the most delicious, comforting dinner.
It tasted so good, and was surrounded by perfectly cooked fresh vegetables. Food tastes the very best when someone else makes it.
So here I am sat on the couch, my cold not really any better or worse than it was yesterday. The doors thrown open to the cool, fine March day outside. A splash of cherry red colour where the Mini is parked outside the gate, in amongst the Australian bush that we live in.
I've almost completely decided I can't go to work tomorrow, because I need to see a doctor about anti-biotics to stop this rattling drifting any further into my chest. Willo's parents are visiting after lunch and it will the first of many good byes I will have to complete before getting on that plane back to New Zealand.
I don't need my peas, or to crawl back into bed to feel content at the moment - although I might reheat some of that pie for lunch and flip through Jamie's Great Britain just because, today is a lovely day, and that will make me feel good.